Let’s talk about money. We all want a lot of it, but then you’ve got to pay your rent, and that utility bill was higher than you thought it’d be. Plus, you’ve got to fill up your car to get to work, and you just need that new watch you saw at the mall. Suddenly, you look at your savings account at the end of the month and it’s exactly where it was last month! What’s going on?
Saving money can seem hard, but there are a few simple hacks that can make things a whole lot easier so you can see your savings continually grow month after month, year after year. These are the 5 quick hacks to help you save money today! Let’s go!
#1: Use Money-Saving Apps – Automate It
In today’s digital age, a lot of people are doing most of their shopping online. It’s quick, easy, and super convenient. But, if you’re shopping online, you could be saving a whole bunch of money just by downloading an app or two. You’re constantly scrolling through your phone anyway, why not use your phone to save some money?
There are plenty of apps out there that will get you discounts and cashback on your online purchases, especially if you find yourself shopping at the same store frequently. Let’s say you’re getting a ton of your groceries at Target. Check out Target’s app! They give you 1% cashback on all purchases, and they’ll even give you a 5% cashback reward on your birthday!
If you want discounts in places other than Target, look into getting Rakuten or Ibotta. Both apps offer cashback rewards at like a million different online stores. Alright, Ibotta has deals at like 300 stores and Rakuten has deals at like 2,500. So it’s not really a million, but it’s still a whole lot! If you’re doing your shopping online anyway, these apps are an easy way to get some quick savings.
Speaking of quick savings on shopping, where you’re getting your groceries could be costing you a whole lot more than you need to be spending. Sorry to anyone who works at a Circle K, but stay away from those convenience stores.
#2: Don’t Shop at Convenience Stores – Stay Away From Circle K
There’s a reason that people shop at convenience stores: they’re convenient! And there is something I just love about a late-night run to the local 7-Eleven or Wawa. But, the truth of the matter is that they’re charging you way too much for anything you buy there!
That’s right, a lot of people don’t know this, but convenience store prices are a whole lot higher than you’d pay at your local grocery store. That can of Pringles is like a whole extra dollar more! Ridiculous!
If you want to save some money, do your shopping at the grocery store whenever possible. And the grocery store you go to matters too! According to national surveys, the cheapest grocery stores in the country are Aldi, Costco, Fareway, Market Basket, and Trader Joe’s. Fareway apparently only exists in the Midwest and Market Basket is only in New England, but the other three you can find pretty much anywhere. Check them out!
Food is a major expense in everyone’s life, so if you can cut down some of those costs, you’re going to see your savings increase way faster. Want to know another major expense that you’re probably spending too much on? Utilities!
#3: Cut Your Utility Costs – Stop Showering
You may think your utility costs as more or less fixed, but there are some little tips and tricks that could cut your utility bill way down! You know the classic ones: turn off your lights when you’re not home, turn off the sink while you’re brushing your teeth, close all your windows when you have the air conditioner on. Those are all good habits to get into that will save you real money in the long run.
But, there also some upfront investments you can make that will save you money on utilities, that require no effort on your part once you get them done. It all comes down to weatherizing your home. Now, you could pay someone to do it for you. There are plenty of companies that specialize in weatherizing homes, or you could do it yourself.
Get a door sweep, one of those rubber things that go on the bottom of your door and stop air from escaping, or you could get some weatherstripping and seal your windows up. Your water heater also loses a lot of unnecessary energy, so you could get a cover for that and seal it right up. Making sure that all your light switches and outlets are sealed also saves a surprising amount of energy. I know these things may seem petty, but trust me, they’re going to shave down your utilities bill little by little. And, over time, that’s going to add up to a ton of money.
You’re always going to pay for some utilities because, you know, we all have to shower and see in the dark and be warm in the winter. But, the next money-saving hack we have for you is an expense that you might be paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for when you could be bringing it to zero.
#4: Stop Paying Interest – Drop It to Zero
Stop paying interest! No, I don’t mean stop paying your credit card bill altogether, quite the opposite actually. If you’re letting your credit balance just sit around where it is, it’s just growing and growing on you, and eventually, you’re going to end up paying more in interest than you ever needed to if you’d just paid it off.
Somehow a lot of people don’t know this, but your credit balance accrues interest, and the average interest rate on a credit card is a massive 16%. If you let a $2,000 credit balance sit for a year without paying it off, you’re going to pay $320 interest on that if your rate is 16%. So, what should you do? Pay off your credit balance as soon as possible!
We talk about credit cards a lot here at Ideal, and that’s because they really can either work for you or against you. If you can afford to, pay off your credit balance as often as possible. If you can’t afford to, start budgeting and make a plan to pay off your credit balance as soon as you can. It’ll save you a boatload of money. Believe me.
Not so great at budgeting? Fair enough. A lot of people have a really hard time budgeting their expenses. But, you know what makes it easier? Going cash only! And make sure you got some envelopes too!
#5: Go Cash-Only – Envelope Method
Budgeting is undoubtedly the best way to save money. It’s a fact. Set a budget for your groceries, for your rent, your car payments, your fun money, everything. But, it’s easier said than done. And a lot of the time, if you’re using a credit card or a debit card, it can feel like you’re not spending real money. It also makes it harder to track exactly how much money you’re spending.
The solution? Stop using plastic altogether! Here’s what you do: look at your past statements from your credit card or debit card, almost every card will tell you how much your spending on each category like gas, groceries, utilities, and rent. Then, get yourself a bunch of envelopes and write those categories on them.
Take out however much cash you plan on spending for the month from the ATM, allot the money to each of those envelopes and then set up a direct deposit for the remainder of your monthly pay to go straight into your savings. Boom! You have a system that can cover all your living expenses and will make sure that you’re contributing to your savings every single month.
If you really need some extra money, you can always dip into your bank account. But the point is to rule over your spending with an iron fist by forcing yourself to stay under a certain budget each month. If you follow this cash-only envelope system, I can guarantee your spending will go way down and your savings will go way up!